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The Effects of Housing Assistance on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Voucher Lottery

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  • Brian A. Jacob
  • Jens Ludwig

Abstract

This study estimates the effects of means-tested housing programs on labor supply using data from a randomized housing voucher wait-list lottery in Chicago. Economic theory is ambiguous about the expected sign of any labor supply response. We find that among working-age, able-bodied adults, housing voucher use reduces labor force participation by around 4 percentage points (6 percent) and quarterly earnings by $329 (10 percent), and increases Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program participation by around 2 percentage points (15 percent). We find no evidence that the housing-specific mechanisms hypothesized to promote work, such as neighborhood quality or residential stability, are important empirically. (JEL I38, J22, R23, R38)

Suggested Citation

  • Brian A. Jacob & Jens Ludwig, 2012. "The Effects of Housing Assistance on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Voucher Lottery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 272-304, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:272-304
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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